tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 6, 2009 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
community group a.c.o.r.n. this will be an interview you do not want to miss. also, snort john enance resignation watch continues. the senator finally faced a journalist today. it did not go well for the senator. we have the tape. and america is bombing the moon. that is not a complicated metaphor about politics or card games or art. we are quite literally shooting munitions into the moon. and, yes, we've got the stap ta that as well. it's all coming up this hour. we have a very big show for you tonight. but we begin with trouble for the republican-led anti-health rourm effort. in just the last 24 hours, the anti-reform forces have suffered losses on two fronts. and on the fake grassroots side of their scare everyone to death about health reform campaign and also on the political side, with signs that the republican party's united front against health reform might be crumbling. first, let's talk fake grassroots. the implosion of betsy mccaughey. she is the former republican
lieutenant governor of new york. she is the creator of the health reform is a plot to kill grandma lie. just yesterday betsy mccaughey's campaign of misinformation was chugging right along w. an anti-health reform column in rupert murdoch's "new york post" that was titled the "kill granny bill." in this charming work of scholarship, ms. mccaughey cited 0 as an expert on health care reform the tea partying florida doctor who was previously famous for mass e-mailing the image of president obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. a witch doctor with a bone through his nose who is also sort of mysteriously a communist, a communist witch doctor. yeah. in an elaborate headdress? yeah t. doesn't get any better the more you pay attention to it. betsy mccaughey in "the new york post" cites the man who sent this out as her expert. her medical expert who predicts that doctors will flee medicare if, god forbid, there's health reform. following that up last night
betsy mccaughey took her act out in public to a debate with the unintimidated congressman anthony weiner of new york. the result was a three-dimensional look at what it means to be off the kook end. >> i think it's more important for people to read the text of the legislation than to rely on all of these political pundits, most of whom haven't read the bills themselves before they have come to their conclusions. like anthony read the signs of the bill in congress -- >> i have read the bill, and just last week -- >> yes or no? >> yes or no. >> have you signed the petition? >> i'm a little afraid right now. are you going to grab this again? this isn't a problem of people not reading the bill. in your case, it's the problem of reading and the bill and then lying about what's in it. >> at one point congressman weiner said he felt like he was debating a pyromaniac in a strawman factory. and this morning on msnbc, dylan
ratigan hosted those same two combatants again. ms. mccaughey was finally forced to admit that her plan for cutting health care costs was to cut off people aged 65 to 70 from medicare altogether. no medicare for you! and even before she had to admit that, things just went very, very, very poorly for her. >> and that is -- >> why do you want to protect large employers, unions and health insurance companies at the expense of patients and taxpayers? >> i'm talking about health care. i'm a patient advocate -- >> if you're a patient advocate, why are you in favor of systems that give your patients less options, fewer options -- >> this will go down in history as one of the most brow-beating interviews in television history. >> i hope that it does and maybe you will learn at that point to answer questions as opposed to go on television and cast accusation. >> as anti-health reform spokesman betsy mccaughey two-staged rhetorical self-destruction was under way, republican senator jon kyl of
arizona was admitting in a different tv interview that the democrats just might win at least one republican vote in the senate. that of olympia snowe of maine. and in case the democrats do win that vote, senator kyl wanted to make sure to preemptively argue that it still won't count, that even if there are republican votes for health reform, that still won't make it a bipartisan bill. the senator's strident denial that health reform will ever be considered bipartisan no matter who votes for it may be born from evidence that probably makes him uneasy. signs of significant cracking in the all for no, no for all republican party motto. today arnold schwarzenegger, the republican governor of california, released a statement saying that he shares the president's goals on health reform, and urging congress to take action. governor schwarzenegger joins a growing list of nondemocrats who have recently come out to publicly support health reform that include former republican senate minority leader bill frist, former bush era health and human services secretary tommy thompson, former bush era
medicare and medicaid administrator mark mcclellan, and independent sort of republican, new york city mayor michael bloomberg. so as the forces against health reform start to wilt a little, it is worth considered why that might be happening. it turns out that while the anti-reform forces have been busy basking this summer in the summer of the screaming town hall meeting, progressive groups were planning their own full-court press on health reform to go into effect slightly after the august of screaming. the progressive full-court press involved some intense pressure on democrats to stay united on reform, and it involved some intensely personal and emotional campaigning to raise the stakes for those who would oppose reform. for example, this pennsylvania woman's twin daughters were diagnosed with cancer when they were 4 years old. the girls beat the cancer, but they had coverage for their doctor-prescribed growth hoermen shots denied by shir health insurance company cigna. health care for america now, which is a coalition of pro
health care organizations, brought that mom to the mansion of the ceo of cigna, ed hanway. they brought her to his house for her to ask if her family could stay in his carriage house, a second house on his property, until they recovered financially from what cigna's decision did to their family. also, the group mad as hell doctors spent the entire month of september driving around the country making the case for a single payer health care system. one of those doctors crashed president obama's rose garden photo-op with 100 other invited physicians who supported his slightly less progressive health reform strategy. and, of course, there has been a barrage of ads taken out by progressive groups targeting conservative and potentially vulnerable democrats like senator blanche lincoln and congressman mike ross, both of arkansas, both of whom have said they oppose a public insurance option. a brand-new ad, produced by the political action committee blue america, just started airing last night. >> we can barely pay our bills
and blanche lincoln is worried about the insurance companies? >> this is what a full-court press for health reform looks like, and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the anti-health reform forces today is what it looks like when a full-court press is working. joining us now is connie schultz, pulitzer prize-winning columnist from cleveland and also the wife of democratic senator sherrod brown. ms. shultz, very nice to see you again. >> dr. maddow, thank you for having me back. >> i like we're going to be very formal. this is going to be great fun. let me start with big picture first, your highness. do you think that -- do you think that health reform passes by the end of the year? >> yes, i do. and i think it's going to have a public option. >> do you think that the outside pressure on conservative democrats has been effective at keeping democrats on the straight and narrow towards reform? >> well, dare i say that i think the progressives, we might actually be on message, probably for the first time ever, because we -- the polling is in support
of what progressives are doing and i think that's helped a lot. not only in organizing and mobilizing the progressives but setting up the flares to a lot of republicans who, i would like to see some of these republicans are coming out because from the goodness of their hearts, they just want to help america, and some of them may. but also you look at the polling, and they're doing their own poll numbers, running them at this point, and they know where the country is headed and they know where this debate is headed. i'm so impressed. governor schwarzenegger and mayor bloomberg, what i think is so significant about those statements is they didn't just volunteer them. some republicans are trying to tear the statements apart and say no, no, this is what we meant. white house asked them for these statements. you know how this process goes. it's not like the white house says, oh, governor, can you send us something? oh, yeah. no, there's a lot of discussion about what's going to go in those statements and they are very deliberate about what they were presenting to the american people, that they, too, see the need for a dramatic health care reform. >> it's -- i agree with you that it seems like things are on a roll right now for health
reform, that the prospects look good, the polling numbers are in the right place, the outside pressure, the legislative momentum all seems to be there. i don't, however, anticipate those forces opposed health reform are going to roll over. when they look at their own poll numbers, when they look at what they've been able to do to dampen the chances for reform, it seems like what's been most effective for them was their summer of screaming, the august town halls. that's when their numbers ticked up, even though they weren't able to maintain them. do you think that weigh should expect sort of more vituperative tactics from those who are against reform? >> you know, i'm not convinced of that, rachel, and here's why. when you mention the town halls, i look at what happened at the beginning of the season of the town hall meetings this summer and where they ended up and even here in ohio, there were certainly some screamers down in the cincinnati area of the state, the most conservative part of ohio. by the time the final town hall that sherrod held in cleveland, there were -- there was virtually no screaming. it was clear some disagreed. they were there for an actual discussion.
they didn't even pack the house that time. and i think what had happened is it had worn itself out, because people were really angry. and as you know, i spend most of my time in ohio. ways in washington all last week, which is really eye-opening only in that it's so good to get back in real america where people are talking about health care and how much they need it. and i'm hearing from more and more republicans who get mad at me if i write a column and just with a broad stroke start talking about republicans oppose health care reform. they keep weighing in with me in increasing numbers saying no, no, no, we're not all against health care reform. we're not those wackos. we're not glenn beck. we're not rush limbaugh. we're not listening to those shows. we have some real concerns and we want to talk about it but police don't lump us all together. and that to me more than anything has convinced me that they're just losing team on these fear tactics of mccaughey. mccaughey was doing it back in august. remember she was on fred thompson's show, and i wrote about it then when she talked about how senior citizens would be required to meet with their doctors every five years to
decide how they're going to end their life sooner. flat-out lie. i don't understand why anybody's still debating her. >> well, where she -- where she turns up to debate is certainly a question. i do think it's fascinating, though, even though she's been pushing those kind of scare tactics, she has been a good debater. she's been good at maintaining her side of the fight, even when it's not supported by the facts. and that we saw fall apart. she got destroyed by anthony weiner in front of a live audience last night in that debate, and then on national television today on dylan's show. and i think seeing her sort of lose it, somebody who know what's to prepare for is i think a sign that maybe they don't know where they're going next. >> i think you're right. she got rattled. part of the reason is because she was in front of live audiences or she was being questioned by real journalists, not just being on conservative show where's she gets to pipe up with all of this stuff that's absolute nonsense and unconscionable because it's just meant to scare the most vulnerable people in our country. >> connie schultz, pulitzer prize-winning columnist for "the
plain dealer" in cleveland, ohio. thanks for being on the show. >> thanks for having me. you think thinks like fatty foods and cigarettes and booze wouldn't really need public relations, right? don't addiction and the i.d. kind of take care of promoting those things to ourselves all on their lonesome? apparently that isn't happening well enough. trans fats and mercury and fish and tanning and cigarettes and booze, they've got a pr man, and he joins us live in studio next. stay tuned. we should be looking closer to home. there are places off the continental shelf. natural gas can be a part of the solution. i think we need to work on wind resources. they ought to be carefully mapping every conceivable alternative. there is an endless opportunity right here. now there's new heart health advantage from bayer.
by lowering bad cholesterol. okay, submarters. domino's just came out with four new let's see what we're up against. mmm, is that pineapple and habanero sauce? yeah, we call that our new sweet & spicy chicken habanero. do we have any habanero sauce? do you see any habanero sauce? this one has feta cheese and roasted red peppers. yeah, we call that one our new mediterranean veggie. do we have roasted anything? no, chuck. we got lettuce. check out domino's four bold new oven-baked sandwiches for just $4.99, like buffalo chicken and italian sausage & peppers.
so this is msnbc, right? this is the place for politics. and usually when we're talking politics, we're talking about who's got the majority in which house of congress. we're talking about who's running for president. it's usually red v. blue, electoral politics. that is the above board, everyone can see it part of the american politics. that is the part that sometimes feels like sports. well, here's a little story about what's happening in american politics beneath the surface. a part that's really not at all like sports and is more about what the country is really like and why it can't ever seem to change in substantive ways. in 2007, the company smithfield foods was engaged in a legal battle with the uscw, the united food and commercial workers union. the ufcw wanted to unionize its plants. smithfield did not want its workers in the union. and at some time during the
legal battle, smithfield reportedly retained the services of a d.c. public relations firm called berman and company, which is headed by a man named rick berman. and right around the time smithfield hired rick berman for their legal battle ufcw, up popped a website, ufcw exposed.com, a website dedicated to telgs you how horrible the ufcw is. that website is run by a nonprofit, a nonprofit that is also headed up by -- rick berman. nauchb profits, of course, don't have to disclose who their owners are. but it's a term of events, where they sue and rick berman's nonprofit group goes after ufcw without having to say who's funding them to do so. that may be a mere coincidence. but if you follow the career path and accomplishments of rick berman, the odds of that being mere coincidence don't seem very good. take, for example, another website, fishscam.com, which
assures you that the mercury in your fish really isn't that bad for you. fishscam.com is headed by rick berman. or there's sunlightscam.com, which tells that you tanning beds are not that dangerous for you. it is headed by rick berman. how about sweetscam.com which tells you high-fructose corn syrup is really not all that bad. feed it to the baby. sweetscam.com, headed by rick berman. there's also animalscam.com, which gives you, quote, truth behind the animal rights movement, headed by rick berman. transfat.com, which tells you trans fat can unclog arteries. also attributable to rick berman f. you go to the website livingwage.com right now, type it in, it will make him happy. you will be redirected to another mrimt politics group, that is not about -- again, this is a nonprofit so it doesn't disclose donors but this website is here to tell you how bad it
is to raise the wage level for the worst-paid people in the country. and another website called rotten a.c.o.r.n..com which goes after the community activist group a.c.o.r.n., which works towards raising the minimum w e wage, among other things. all of this is done by rick berman and because does he it through nonprofit corporations, he doesn't have to tell you who pays him to do it. he doesn't have to tell you if the seafood is industry shind the website. and if the aggregate is behind sweetscam.com. mr. berman is allowed to create all of these grassroots-looking websites and not tell you who's footing the bill. totally allowed, totally legal. all of these purt portedly grassroots organization that say they stand for regular run of the mill americans but we're not allowed to know who's putting up the money. and sometimes you find out fake grassroots groups like americans for prosperity were founded by an oil baron, and then you
think, hey, maybe that's why they're campaigning against climate change legislation. sometimes you find out that the people who are sponsoring the big 9/12 tea party march on washington is a group that's run by a lobbyist who's charging tens of thousands of dollars to other firms to gain ak stoess that grassroots podium at that march. just because someone calls themselves grassroots, someone calls themselves nonprofit, does not mean they are sending you corporate-funded pr spin. the target for what these folks are doing is us, the american people. so when you hear from a rec berman-headed website that transfats might secretly be great for you, wouldn't it be be nice to be able to ask him who is paying him to say that? well, joining us now is rick berman, who's president of the pr firm berman and company and founder of a bewildering number of pro-business nonprofit organizations. mr. berman, i commend you for wanting to come on this show knowing exactly what this conversation was going to be like. thank you for being here. >> thank you for letting me come on. >> tell me what i just said that there is not true. i want to give you a chance to correct the record first. >> well, first of all, i don't
know if i have enough time to do that. >> okay. >> but i brought some notes because i listened to some of your commentary on previous nights -- >> i don't want to say anything that's actually untrue. >> i don't know if you say things that are factually untrue but with a healthy dose of sarcasm and taking things out of context, you make them seem a lot worse than they are. let's go to trans fat. >> okay. >> everybody used to use saturated fat. enthen there was a group commonly called the food police, the center for science and the public interest. >> you call them the food police. nobody else commonly calls them that. >> actually, more and more people are starting to call them that. >> because you're doing a good job. >> thank you. they said asaturated fats are terrible. we need to go to trans fats. and they counseled the industry and counseled the government and counseled the media we needed to move to trans fat. over time they decided trans fats are bad. we have to go back to saturated fats or some other fats. the point is trans fats are not particularly bad compared to saturated fatsz or vice versa, and trans fats, most people who get connected to trans fats, get
connected to it by putting margarine on their proud. and when i see people say trans fats -- and we have seen legislators say trans fats are like lead in paint with kids eating lead chips. we have seen legislators say that they're xbruft like rat poison. i put out a website and i say, listen, there's needs to be some balance in this conversation. trans fats may not be good for you. you shouldn't eat them in great amounts, but they are not rat poison. >> when put out that website, though, what i want to know in order to assess the credibility of what you're saying and when i see the ads and look at the website, what i want to know is are manufacturers of foods that contain trans fats being -- >> great question. what you were saying before about nonprofits not disclosing their donors is something well known to people on the left, far left, and on the right. all through politics people have nonprofits that are advocacy nonprofits, and they all are refusing to submit donor lists, because people don't want to have their right to free speech
curtailed by people coming at them. you know, the original case that went to the supreme court -- >> before you do that, though. before we talk about the supreme court, you just -- without me interrupting you like i did just now, you just gave this sort of shrill wa question on why trans fats aren't so bad. in order for my viewers to know whether or not that was a paid-for testimonial by people who have a vested financial industry in trans fats being purchased and consumed by a lot of americans, i want to know if somebody who makes trans fats are profits from them paid you to say it? >> go on the website and look at the science. what i always -- >> you just -- are you saying that you won't tell me? >> yes, of course. and i'm just like all of the groups on the left who won't tell you either. in fact, you put up one website about a.c.o.r.n., rotten ako a.c.o.r.n. the only thing wrong with that website home page has been changed from tonight. you had melanie sloan on from crew. she's been attacking me over the years for one thing or another. so tonight i put up, if you put
up rotten a.c.o.r.n..com, you will see an expose of melanie sloan not wanting to disclose her donors. >> this is fair enough. if you're going to attack melanie sloan for not disclosing her donors, and i know activistscash.com is another vehicle to attack groups on the left and try to expose who their donors are, why do you feel justified when you won't say who they are? >> if i get money from nbc and nbc says, i don't want my name disclosed, it's not up to me to disclose it. >> why do you expect anybody to believe you on matters of science and research if we don't know if you are being paid to say it by people who have a vested interest, literally, financial interest in you being persuasive. don't you think that's kind of evil? >> here's why. i can't make a persuasive case just because it's my opinion. if you go to the websites, there's science on there, if you go to the website mercury facts or fish scam, what you will see is the harvard school of public health says that the risks of mercury from eating fish are far more outweighed than the benefits of eating fish. >> okay. >> if i have got harvard saying
it, i don't have to tell you who gave me any money to publicize their point of view. >> on that point, you took on harvard specifically. i'm sure you have thought about this a lot because it got a lot of attention for your country and for your nonprofits. you took on harvard on an obesity study. there was a study about obesity that you said was junk science. it was about whether or not soda is bad for you and contributed to childhood obesity. i looked that a lot of your campaigning around that. and i saw, for example, your research director testifying to the fda, was it, about that? your research director -- >> a letter. >> written testimony. it was on your website, written testimony there, david was his name. is he a scientist? >> no, david repeats other people's science. that's not the point. >> is he a doctor? >> david is a dartmouth graduate. he's one of the smartest guys in washington about this stuff. he's been studying it for many, many years. >> i want to ask you this because i think it's important to know. when you're talking about your credibility on these issues, it has been reported that david before he got this gig as your research director, he -- his
experience was that he was a producer in a.m. talk radio. that was his previous job. >> he had several jobs. david had several jobs. >> and his academic credential may be from dartmouth but it's a degree in music, is that right? >> here's my whole point, david doesn't come on and say, i have done the research and this is what the research says. david finds the research and publicizes it and he gives people the opportunity to look at a balanced point of view. >> you should have him set it to music. >> perhaps so. >> this is going to be more fun after the commercial. you stick around, or you can leave now if you want. but i would love for you to stick around. >> no, i want to say the whole show if i can. >> rick berman, thank you very much for being a great sport to being here. we will be right back after this. (announcer) we understand. you need to save money. (announcer) we understand. when it comes to italian sauce, some people prefer this jar. but more people prefer this sauce. winner of the blind taste test. the sweet and savory taste of prego.
it's in there. a health insurance ceo lives here. this year he'll make $57,000 an hour. another family used to live here before they filed for bankruptcy. 62% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. this man is living his dream while this family lives a nightmare. if the insurance companies win, you lose. we need good health care we can afford with the choice of a public health insurance option.
we're back with rick berman. he is president of the pr firm berman and company, as well as founder of a number -- a great number of pro-business nonprofit organizations. mr. berman, thanks for sticking with us. >> glad to be here. >> you have received a lot of attention over the years for your efforts. cbs memorably christened you dr. evil. a determine you seem to relish. i know you said in an interview about ten years ago in a trade magazine, you said your strategy was to, quote, shoot the messenger. we have to attack their credibility as spokespersons. >> right. >> was that your intent, was that the strategy behind rottenacorn.com to go after them as messengers for raising the minimum wage and the other things that they worked on? >> most of the people that go after a.c.o.r.n. are certainly in the cross-hairs about this are people who are hypocrites, people who say one thing and do
another. people who are duplicitas. when i first out about a.c.o.r.n., it was because i had a long history of working on the minimum wage -- >> against raising the minimum wage. >> against raising the minimum wage, which is a position that is consistent all the time -- every time they do the surveys, 75% to 80% of economists say raising the minl mum wage is no longer a good anti- repression strategy. >> and i know this made people laugh all around the country. >> let them laugh. the point is economists who have no dog in the fight say this because when you see the average income, the average family income of a minimum wage worker today is approximately $50,000. >> you know, but that's -- >> let me finish about a.c.o.r.n. it's important. the reason i got involved with a.c.o.r.n. is i saw that a.c.o.r.n. had filed a brief in the california court of appeals saying they wanted to pay their own employees less than the minimum wage. they wanted to be exempted from the minimum wage. and one of their arguments is they wouldn't be able to hire as many workers as if they raise
the minimum wage on them. and, they said, and this was really incredible, they said if they can pay their workers less than the minimum wage, they would be more and they would be better able to identify with their poor clients. now, the judge threw the case out, said that this was the most hypocritical thing he had ever seen. and this was an appellate court brief. >> who funded your website again, rottenacorn.com. >> i did. >> you did it yourself personally? >> i start a lot of these myself because i believe in them and then i go to people and say, listen, this is what i'm doing. if your beliefs are consistent with mine, will you help me get this thing out. it doesn't cost anything to put a website up. >> but who -- on the a.c.o.r.n. -- so nobody ever else supported that, that was out of the goodness of your heart? >> yeah. >> the problem with that is that i can't prove it one way or another because you don't have to disclose it so i have to take your word on that, and i will. there's no reason not it. but in general your strategy not to say, i, rick berman, am being paid to tell you that the efforts to stop you from eating
fish or stop eating trans fats or -- or stop smoking cigarettes, whatever they are, i'm being paid to tell you that these things are a bad idea. >> i don't do things that i don't believe. >> okay. but you are being paid to say them as well by people who have a vested interest in what you are arguing, and you don't argue -- you don't argue from the truth of it, the fact that you're being paid for it. you arc that the people who advocate against cigarette smoking, the people who advocate for raising the minimum wage, you advocate they're bad people and can't be trusted. you're against mothers against drunk driving and peta and a.c.o.r.n. >> the woman who started mothers against drunk driving came to work for me because she believed that the madd organization -- >> she left in a bad way in your organization. >> because she had been hounded for doing it. that's why. but the point is she agreed with me and there are a lot of people -- traffic safety people that agree madd used to be against drunk driving. i was the only corporate consultant to madd. i was trying to do something
about drunk driving. the organization was consistent with our views. but then they went about trying to go after any drinking and driving. so now they're trying to put breathalyzers in all cars as original equipment. >> and restaurants and bars and other industries that sell alcohol. and they're worried about it, they have an interest in it and they're paying you to say it. if you admitted that, nobody would call you dr. evil anymore. they would just call you a pr guy. the reason you're on this show is because you don't disclose who's paying you to say the things you're saying. >> then you can't have anybody on your show from the left or right who's connected to nonprofit organizations because they won't tell who you's funding them. >> and think that's wrong? >> i think that they're entitled to do that. they're entitled to keep their donors quiet. i think that's up to them. >> rick berman, president of berman and company, my sincere thanks for coming on tonight. i look forward to you taking down the website attacking crew for not disclosing their donors because you had your change of heart right here on the set for me. >> hardly, hardly. >> it doesn't matter what you think. it's what works for your business. i understand. i hope you come back. i hope you thought you were treated fairly. >> i does.
and i look forward to coming back. >> thank you. as if senator john ensign did not have enough on his plate now that his adultery and payoff scandal's being investigated, today senator ensign was tracked down by a reporter who asked him some very, very uncomfortable questions on camera. the way things are going, senator ensign may look back on this as one of the good days. that remarkable piece of tape's next. and just starting and stopping. having to go in the middle of a ballgame and then not being able to go once i got there. and going at night. i thought i had a going problem. my doctor said i had a growing problem. it wasn't my bladder. my prostate was growing. i had an enlarging prostate that was causing my urinary symptoms. my doctor prescribed avodart. (announcer) over time, avodart actually shrinks the prostate and improves urinary symptoms so i can go more easily when i need to go and go less often. (announcer) avodart is for men only. women should not take or handle avodart due to risk of a specific birth defect. do not donate blood until 6 months after stopping avodart.
tell your doctor if you have liver disease. rarely sexual side effects, swelling or tenderness of the breasts can occur. only your health care provider can tell if symptoms are from an enlarged prostate and not a more serious condition like prostate cancer. so have regular exams. call your doctor today. avodart. help take care of your growing problem.
you can tell us if you have gotten any calls from the justice department? or your lawyer -- >> let me state this very carefully. we will cooperate with any official inquiry, okay? >> okay. now will you please just leave me alone, dana bash? nevada senator john ensign, and he has managed to avoid answering all questions about the scandals surrounding him until today. you will recall that the senator confessed back in june to having an affair with a campaign staffer, who was married to one of his top senate staffers. but it's not the affair itself that has senator ensign in growing trouble. while senator ensign was still car why iicarrying on the affai
apparently decided he wants to get his miss stress and her husband off the ensign payroll. he called companies and suggested none too subtly they hire the mistress' husband. those recommendations helped the husband go right from his job in senator ensign's office into a job lobbying the senate. and that is against the law. since the initial revelation of the affair, senator ensign has pretty much shunned the press. he's appeared sparingly in public. he turned up once at a chamber of commerce luncheon, once at a conference in lake tahoe. and then this morning sort of happened to him. he was tracked down outside his senate office. senator ensign made what was clearly a very unwanted appearance on cnn. >> you will see our statements on that. i think it's pretty clear. i said in the past i recommended him for jobs, just like i have recommended a lot of people, but we absolutely did nothing except for comply exactly with what the ethics laws and the ethics rules
of the senate state. we were very careful in everything that we did and you can see our statements on that. >> did you have any indication that the justice department investigation -- >> we plan on -- we're going to cooperate with every official inqui inquiry. but as you all know, you can't comment on that stuff. >> actually you can. no comment or not, things once they were outside got even worse for the increasingly seasick-looking senator. >> senator, why was it so important to get doug those jobs? >> just look at our tape. just look at our tape. it's very clear on that. >> is there any chance that you -- are you considering resigning? >> i am focused on doing my work. i'm going to continue to focus on dock my work. >> senator ensance may say he is focused on doing his work but many others in washington are now focused on how senator ensign features in the work of the fbi.
joining us now is melanie sloan, executive director of crue, citizens for ethics and spomts in washington. thank you very much for coming on the show tonight, of which you already had a starring role. >> right. let me preface my remarks to say no one paid us to go after john ensign. it was our pleasure. >> fair enough. let me ask you before we talk ensign, my conversation with rick berman i think will be the first of more. i think i will probably be continuing this talk with him. do you think we covered important ground? do you think there was anything i let him get away with that i shouldn't have? >> no, i think you did a good job. but i would like to let you know philip morris actually was one of the main funders for mr. berman's work for the centers of freedom to fund smoking to be a choice in restaurants. >> that is one of the ones we have documentation of because of all of the lawsuits in the tobacco industry. that's exactly right. on enance, today i understand that your organization provided information to the fbi and to the senate ethics committee about ensign. what did you provide and how significant do you think it is?
>> well, we forwarded "the new york times" article to the fbi and senate ethics committee as well as some of the documents "the new york times" had, which were contemporaneous notes that doug hampton had written as well e-mails he had written to ensign and chief of staff lopez. the main thing we learned is mr. hampton violated the lobbying ban, senate staffer not allowed to lobby for one year after leaving, and he did that with the assistance of john ensign. john ensign knowingly and willfully violated this ban by finding clients, soliciting clients and having meetings. and all of this is clearly against the law so john ensign clearly violated this law. he's claiming he didn't do anything unethical or illegal and that's exactly what bob ney, a former congressman from ohio said all the way until he pleaded guilty to this exact offense. >> briefly melanie, i know you also have called for the fbi to investigate senator tom coburn's role in this affair.
what do you think merits investigation into coburn's role here? >> well, coburn was also very close to doug hampton, knew him well, was involved in helping facilitate some kind of restitution that didn't work out for the hamptons. but mr. hampton and mr. coburn met also with mr. hampton's client aleth fair. so he, too, could have committed conspiracy to violate the lobbying ban. >> melanie sloan, executive director for c.r.e.w. thank you so much for coming back on the show. >> it's my pleasure. to sarah palin to the democrats to joe wilson. comedian lewis black will take them all on when he joins keith on "countdown" coming up next. and the unenviable task of rewriting the bible to make it sound more right wing. somebody is actually trying to do that. and we've asked kent jones to look into it. that's next. i roll past the c. and choose any car in the aisle. choosing your own car? now that's a good call. go national. go like a pro.
crunch. wheat thins. that's what's gonna happen here. because you're tasty... with toasty whole grains. (crunch) wheat thins. toasted. whole grain. crunch. have at it. crunch. it took us maybe, what, two hours to give up the corporate life? i think it took me about ten minutes. running a b&b is not a desk job. i have to climb stairs 20-30 times a day. announcer: keep moving with new nature made triple flex. newly formulated to work in as little as 7 days.
it is time to "bomb the moon." seriously, we are going to bomb the moon. at 7:30 eastern time friday morning, nasa is going to shoot a missile traveling at twice the speed of sound -- sorry, twice the speed of a bullet, into the moon. specifically we will be shooting this missile at the moon's south polar region. other than the fact that this sounds like a heck of a lot of fun for the nasa folks who get to literally shoot the moon, why are we doing this? well, apparently it's all about the debris cloud, the impact of the missile is expected to produce a six-mile-high plume of moon debris and nasa thinks that the big plume of moon debris will help them figure out if there's any water below the dry, dusty surface of the moon. nasa intends to broadcast the moon bombing live, and we will cover what happens right here on "the rachel maddow show" at 9:00 p.m. eastern time friday night. which on friday is, i think, about an hour before the moon is scheduled to rise. hopefully. ñ
at dover air force base today in delaware, scenes that the american people were not allowed to see during the bush administration. the remains of six american soldiers, sergeant joshua kirk, sergeant vernon martin, specialist michael scouza, specialist christopher griffin, specialist steven mace, and private first class kevin thompson, all being returned home to their families with
solemn ceremony and with dignity. they are six of the eight americans who were killed in two simultaneous insurgent onslaughts on u.s. outposts near the onslaughts near the pakistan border in afghanistan this weekend. it was eight years ago tonight that the u.s. war in afghanistan began. and just this year alone, we have doubled the u.s. troops we have there. as the president today met with more than 30 democratic and republican members of the house and senate on afghanistan, it's clear that the rationale for continuing its war into its ninth year or escalating the war into its ninth year is the theory of counterinsurgency. it's the idea our troop presence can stabilize afghanistan, that we can help afghanistan defeat the threats to its own government, we can shore up the legitimacy and the capacity and trustworthiness of the government and security forces so the afghan people will choose them. so they will function as a legitimate state, a legitimate government that can defend
itself. then, the counterinsur jebts say we can leave. mission accomplished. this is supposed to apply to both afghanistan and pakistan, because of al qaeda, because of the insurgents in these countries worry us for our own safety. our troops, our fire power, our diplomacy is all supposed to shore up the governments so they can prevail over the insurgents we find dangerous. here's the problem. the government in afghanistan is so corrupt, it looked like hamid karzai stole an election he was going to win anyway. pakistan is so corrupt, they report the $6.6 billion the bush administration gave pakistan's military to fight insur jebts, of $6.6 billion, the military actually maybe got $500 million. where do you think the other $6.1 billion is we gave them? the whole point of us continuing this war, of us staying there
longer is we're increasing their capacity to fight insurgents, to govern and defend their own countries. the only way it makes sense for us to stay there is if we believe there's some chance of success of that strategy. and that depends on the afghans and pakistanis. and when you consider the likelihood of that success, consider this. the day before the fire fight that killed those eight american soldiers this weekend, an afghan soldier on patrol with american soldiers open fired on the american troops he had been patrolling with. two americans were killed in that attack. at least one was seriously wounded. and consider that pakistani television today released cctv footage of the man they believe was the suicide bomber of the world u.s. food program in islamabad that killed five people. the bomber was apparently wearing a pakistani military uniform. the governments our troops are supposed to be shoring up with corrupt and thieving from their own people and from us. the local security forces our
troops are supposed to be training and arming and putting in charge, they themselves are killing their supposed american allies and apparently bombing u.n. offices. forget the taliban. even the people we're supposed to be helping want to kill us. counterinsurgency theory is elegant and impressive and its champions are among the highest order intellectuals in america today, but as the president makes his decision about what to do now, know that this is what it boils down to. staying in afghanistan, escalating in afghanistan in year nine of our war there only makes sense if these best and brightest counterinsurgency intellectuals have convinced us when we're finally done, some day, some year in the future in afghanistan, we will have won and the insurgents will have lost. and we will believe that it's all been worth the cost. that's what we have to believe in order for us to want to escalate or even to stay. your nine starts right now. ssso word's gettin' out that geico can help people save in even more ways -
on motorcycle insurance, rv, camper, boat insurance. nice work, everyone. exec: well, it's easy for him. he's a cute little lizard. gecko: ah, gecko, actually - exec: with all due respect, if i was tiny and green and had a british accent i'd have more folks paying attention to me too... i mean - (faux english accent) "save money! pip pip cheerio!" exec 2: british? i thought you were australian. gecko: well, it's funny you should ask. 'cause actually, i'm from - anncr: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. a health insurance ceo lives here. this year he'll make $57,000
an hour. another family used to live here before they filed for bankruptcy. 62% of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. this man is living his dream while this family lives a nightmare. if the insurance companies win, you lose. we need good health care we can afford with the choice of a public health insurance option.
sfwhen you own a business,g saving sounds good. so hear this: regions makes it simple to save money and time with lifegreen checking and savings for business, free convenient e-services and regions quick deposit, so you can deposit checks right from your desk. so switch to regions and start saving. plus, get a business financial review through a regions cashcor analysis. it's how business gets into the rhythm of saving. regions - it's time to expect more.
kent jones has long played a role in my life as a sort of comedy consultant. one of the things is when i'm reading the news and i come across something that i think is a joke and i don't want to get duped, i ask kent to look into it. turns out this story today was for real. >> yeah. conservatives sometimes get upset about the supposed liberal bias in the book sometimes? well, what if that book is the bible. there's a group that wants to give the bible a little rewrite. take a look.
conservapedia aims to correct errors in conveying biblical meeting. editors are scrubbing the bible clean of what they consider liberal bias. their guideline ins collude not imm emasculating the bible, not down playing the real existence of hell and the devil, and not down playing the bible. sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for vir tuous women. umm, amen? and while the bible has always been subject to interpretation -- >> i think it was blessed are the cheese makers. >> what's so special about the cheese makers. >> it's not meant to be taken literally. it refers to anyone manufacturing products. >> there's nothing in the bible about, say, kenyan birther
certificates but a lot of love thy neighbor kind of stuff. so far they've replaced the words faircy pharisees, seribes death with elitists, intellectuals and death penalty. smite hasn't been changed to lethal injection yet. as the good book says in the beginning was the word. well, obviously that has to go. >> i can't believe it's real. >> very much so. >> i wish them luck. chris hayes from "the nation" was our guest and he said that mark kirk from illinois was planning a trip to honduras to go meet with that government that we don't recognize but all the republicans are meeting with. that apparently is not true. chris says he screwed it up so that's why we have chris hayes tied up in a closet.
in case you're wondering. >> i saw him earlier. >> thanks for watching. keith olbermann and his special guest lewis black starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? the insurance cartel demands more. higher penalties for people who are mandated to buy insurance but don't. if the higher penalties aren't granted, threatening to raise everybody's premiums. the speaker again cuts to the chase. >> we will bring a bill to the floor in the house of representatives that has a public option in it. >> speeding that up in the senate slightly. mr. baucus now says the congressional budget office will be done pricing out his bill tomorrow, meaning any more delaying, he will have to do himself. sarah palin, campaign tool